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Pre-Season Checklist Part 2: Prepare Your Planter Equipment

by Apr 7, 2011DirectCommand®, Guidance & Steering

Once your display is updated and ready to go to the field, check that the precision equipment on the planter is working correctly as well.  First, make sure you can load your planter configuration. If the display detects out of date CAN module firmware, it will prompt the user to update these modules. All you will need to do is press “accept” and the display will update your modules automatically.


Next, pull the tractor outside and make sure your GPS receiver is working. Press the GPS status icon on the mapping screen to check your GPS status.  While you are in the GPS status screen, check the GPS settings.  The minimum baud rate should be 19,200 and the minimum Hz should be 5. Walk around the planter and check cables. Inspect them for any place they may have been pinched or stripped, and double-check all the cable connections to be sure they are all plugged-in properly. The implement switches should be checked as well; ensure the implement switches are being tripped correctly when the planter is raised and lowered. You will also want to check the individual components on the planter itself. 

If you are running population monitoring, be sure to check your gain value (seed tube monitor module only); this should be set to 1 for all crops. Remember, never change your gain value in corn. If the gain value needs to be changed for other crops, confirm you are planting the correct population by doing a dig test before adjusting the gain.  Make sure your seed tube sensors are working properly; watch your seed tube diagnostic screen and have someone slowly drop a handful of corn down each seed tube.  You should see the seeds per second value increase as corn is dropped through the seed tube. If you are running clutch control on the planter, follow the clutch manufacturer’s recommendation for maintenance on the clutch and its components. 

Ag Leader SureStop clutches do not require any maintenance.  Check the seed disk for wear if you are running SureVac row shutoffs.  Raise and lower the planter to test if the clutches are turning off with the planter tripping the implement switch.  Test the switches in the cab to ensure they are turning clutch sections off as well.



For hydraulic seed rate control on a planter, inspect the controller settings, gear ratio and meter calibration.  If you are not sure what these values should be, the quick reference sheet is good reference.  Quick reference card for a Rawson drive is located here. Use the seed meter prime button; it should turn the seed meters one revolution.  Seed meter prime is a great diagnostic function to ensure your drives are turning correctly.  It is also useful in the field to fill your seed disks.   If you are running a Rawson drive, press the jump-start switch and the drive should begin to turn.

 Be sure to follow the hydraulic drive manufacturer’s recommendations for maintenance on the drive and components. By checking these items, you can help ensure your spring planting will go smoothly. Just like checking the oil in your truck, taking a few minutes to check your precision ag equipment can save you valuable time later. Part 3 of our Pre-Season checklist will offer a variety of sources to help you out as you begin your fieldwork; check back tomorrow to learn more!

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